Skip to main content

Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

See other formats

of attaining a series ofe independent' dis-united small States before her
Western frontier, each with a c friendly' government under her juris-
diction. Emphasising a c union' within the frontiers of the U.S.S.R.,
Moscow propaganda, from the beginning of 1942., strongly opposed every
attempt at the creation of any other * union ' West of Russia.
During his stay in the Soviet Union., the Polish Ambassador had "felt
himself to be rather the head of a rescue expedition than an Ambassador
who should have been occupied only with political affairs." The Polish
exiles were dying by the thousand,, and then there was the task of extracting
those who were still in the dungeons^ feeding those who flocked to the
protection of the Polish Authorities (among them many children) and of
saving those who were still in their places of exile.
Delegates from the Polish Embassy were appointed in nineteen towns3
in those provinces where the largest groups of Polish deportees had been
located. These delegates had to carry out their work in areas sometimes
greater than any of the European States. Groups of Polish citizens in
different localities chose representatives from their number who acted as
liaison officers between those citizens and the delegates. By January I5
1942., there were 342 representatives in al!5 and the Narkomindel approved
the instructions issued to these men by the Embassy; the local authorities
did not at first hamper these people in their work. Relief was given to
any Polish citizen, irrespective of nationality or faith.* But the Soviet
authorities in some places did not wish to recognise the non-Poles as
Polish citizens and a certain amount of friction occurred.
During 1941-19423 relief was given to over 265,400 persons. In
European Russia (46,817), in Siberia (71,444), in Kazakhstan (56,991)
and Central Asia (90,249). Among this number were 77,264 children
of under ten years of age and, of these, 8,605 were orphans, who were
located mainly in the South of the Soviet Union where the majority of
families had been separated. The relief given by the Polish Government
was in the form of food and clothing, which had come from Britain and
America, and money, which in itself was of little value—in Kazakstan,
for example, one pound of bread cost thirty-five roubles, in the Altay
province sixty, and in the Komi Republic one hundred and fifty roubles.
One of the first questions put to the Polish Ambassador by the Russian
authorities was, " how and when were the Polish Government going to
pay for the supplies to the troops and to its citizens/' since it was res-
* Among the number who received the help of the Polish Embassy* fifty per
cent, were Poles and the rest Ukrainians^ White Ruthenians and Jews. It seemed
the latter more easily adapted themselves to life in the Soviet Union and, staying
on the fringe of the big towns had benefited from this assistance to a far
greater percentage. For every hundred persons given relief by the Embassy,
39 were Jews—although these had hardly amounted to 25 per cent, of the deportees.
The Polish Authorities differentiated between Poles and Jews for statistical
reasons only.